When I picked up this book, I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting. I knew it was about a girl who was in trouble with the law for the death of her brother. I knew it was about addiction. I knew it was about a family that had been torn apart. But what I didn’t expect was such a gut-wrenching, emotional reading experience. Thicker Than Water is haunting and heartbreaking – and it shows off the pains of being left in the dust of a family member who is suffering from addiction.
Cecelia is in a behavioral correction facility where she undergoes group therapies, individual therapies, and tries to get herself ready for her hearing. After being in county lockup, she is lucky for this chance. While she finds cooperating with her public defender, Jennifer, a little difficult (she wants to keep to herself), and she rarely shares anything in group, she’s lost in her grief, pain, and the situation that landed her in the facility.
Cecelia, or CeCe, believes she is responsible for the death of her brother, Cyrus, and told authorities that she had killed him. So while Jennifer is working to try and prove that CeCe hadn’t actually been the one to kill her brother, CeCe is adamant that she deserves to be punished for what she did.
Thicker Than Water tells the story of Cecelia before and after the death of her brother. There are chapters of the present day, with CeCe getting ready for her hearing and in Piedmont Behavioral, and then there are chapters told a few months prior to Cyrus’s death – when he began getting addicted to OxyContin, and the aftermath of his addiction. The chapters alternate…and this was a brilliant way to narrate the story, because it gives us a peek into what CeCe’s life was like before and after.
Getting attached to CeCe was easy, as her character was so well written and it was hard not to feel sorry for her as you read her story about her brother’s harrowing drug addiction, and what it did to their family. Having already lost her mother to breast cancer a few years earlier, CeCe had to watcher another family member that she loved disappear right in front of her – only by something that could have easily been prevented. When Cyrus starts stealing money to pay for his doctor visits for more pills, CeCe does the only thing she knows she can do to help keep the family afloat – she starts stealing small amounts, and then larger amounts, of his medications, and selling them to save up for bills and her college education.
If you’ve witnessed addiction in your family or with friends, than you will easily relate to the emotions and problems that CeCe and her family face, and how difficult it was for her to sit back and watch her brother slowly destroy not only himself, but all of them.
I think this is one of those books that absolutely should be picked up at some point. Thicker Than Water is a powerful, moving novel that you won’t soon forget.
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.